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The History of Silicon & Semiconductors

January 24 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Co-sponsored by: IEEE Montreal Section

The IEEE Montreal Section cordially invites you to a talk by John East, Former CEO of Actel. Refreshments and snacks will be served. Please register using the link provided below.


What was the biggest change the world has seen in the last 50 years? John East would reply: the semiconductor! Semiconductors have enabled what we now take for granted: microelectronic circuits that enable tremendous computing power, all contained within a size of a few squared millimeters.

Email? Notebook computers? Smart phones? Google? Facebook? Twitter? All huge changes to be sure, but these all are based on the advances in microelectronics that have been continuing at a frantic rate since the 50s. Imagine a world with no semiconductors – our world would be quite different. Think of it: the internet,smart phones, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Intel, Sony, Microsoft and many other pioneering companies and technologies that have changed our lives would have never seen the light of day! With none of these companies, the world’s economy and the human condition would be in a very different place.

How did one of the greatest technological revolutions of the modern age happen? Who made it happen? What were the events that shaped that industry? When did semiconductor technology begin to change the world? How did we get where we are today, integrating billion of logic gates on a chip, starting from a point when making a single logic gate seemed impossible? In fact, even a single transistor, the building block of a logic gate, could not be made reliably at the very beginning. Today, according to an estimate by Forbes [1], we have fabricated since the 50s 2,913,276,327,576,980,000,000 transistors (that is 2.9 sextillion for those counting). Quite the leap over 60 years!

This story will be told by John East, a long-time veteran of the semiconductor wars who was there when they happened, personally experienced the successes and failures, and worked directly with many of the best-known combatants.

[1] Jim Handy, “How Many Transistors Have Ever Shipped?,” Forbes, 2014.

Speaker(s): John East,

Room: Clark Room, 3rd floor
Bldg: Notman House
51 Sherbrooke Street West
Entrance on Clark Street via Café OSMO
Montreal, Quebec
H2X 1X2


January 24
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
More Information and Registration



Room: Clark Room, 3rd floor, Bldg: Notman House